TUMBY BAY - An interesting phenomenon has been developing in politics over recent decades which seems to have accelerated in the last ten years or so.
It’s the global problem of politicians of dubious merit and intent, totally not worthy of election, who are nevertheless populating governments everywhere.
So instead of people having the choice of voting for the best candidates from a field of suitably qualified and committed aspirants, they are forced to select the least bad candidate from whatever motley line-up of incompetents is on offer.
This sad situation is increasingly evident by what were once national government obligations being taken over and led by ordinary citizens, businesses and lower levels of government.
The most obvious case of this relates to action on climate change, particularly in Trump’s America and still the case in Scott Morrison’s recidivist Australia.
In Australia, action to combat climate change, such as setting targets for emissions reduction and adopting carbon-neutral technologies, has been taken out of the hands of the national government which indeed attempts to thwart such action.
The same thing is happening in Australia and elsewhere with other pressing social and environmental issues.
Whether this presages a fundamental shift in public sentiment against current forms of governance in favour of populism and, even more sinister, despotism is yet to become evident but as the swing becomes more evident that seems not an unreasonable conclusion.
One of the questions frequently asked about national governments in particular is that, irrespective of their national responsibilities to entire populations, who do they really represent?
Do they represent their constituents or do they represent vested interests who donate money to their parties?
But perhaps that question is becoming not so clear cut.
With regard to climate change, for instance, some of the big corporate entities are making positive changes to the way they operate.
Their money is still important but it seems that, more narrowly, ideology and self-interest (including ensuring cronies are placed in strategic positions) have taken over.
It is refreshing to observe that in Australia, the USA and Europe, farmers are leading the change towards sustainable practices despite the positions of political parties that claim to represent them.
But this separation of the interests of the whole from the interests of the power elite is becoming a real threat to the notion of democracy.
And it leads to incompetence and poor decision-making.
Nowadays, watching governments making stupid decisions has become a spectator sport.
In Papua New Guinea, for instance, the Marape government has decided it is a good idea to survey people's views about making the nation a constitutional Christian country. This amid an out of control pandemic.
The stupidity and callousness of doing such a thing while the population is in grave danger from Covid is astonishing.
It is on a par with planning to build new coal fired power stations during the climate emergency, as is happening in Australia.
This disjoint between what governments are doing and what people want them to do has become so widespread that it’s not unreasonable to expect that something will soon shatter and bring the whole edifice down.
By edifice one can include democracy and the capitalist system in general.
We are fortunate perhaps that the new American president, Joe Biden, has apparently observed these toxic changes in democratic governance and wants to do something to remedy them.
One can only hope that he is genuine, which is not clear yet, and that other leaders will follow his example.